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James Cleverly Will Be the First British Foreign Secretary to Visit China in 5 Years

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to visit China (Photo: China Highlights)

Next week, James Cleverly will become the first British foreign secretary to visit China in five years, putting his government’s efforts to rebalance relations with Beijing to the test.

James Cleverly to become first British foreign secretary to visit China in 5 years

The British Foreign Office did not stated on whether Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary would visit China this month, but Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s former ambassador to the UK, confirmed the trip on social media.

In the recent published article by South China Morning Post, Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, is likely to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday, although no certain date for a meeting with Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, has been set. It will be the first visit to Beijing by Britain’s top diplomat since Jeremy Hunt’s visit in July 2018, although the world and the relationship between the two countries have changed notably in the five years since then.

According to Sophia Gaston, head of foreign policy at think tank Policy Exchange, said that this trip will focus to “project a new-found British confidence towards China,” with the Mansion House speech and the recently revamped Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development, and Foreign Policy at the heart of the approach.

As per to the Daily Telegraph, Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, will persuade China to lift penalties against members of parliament and academics, while also being pressured to emphasize concerns about freedoms in Hong Kong.

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Cleverly, the British Foreign Secretary, has responded to critics by addressing the House of Commons foreign affairs committee in June that his role is to “engage foreign governments, including governments we disagree with.”

According to Yahoo Finance, “We do so to highlight areas where we disagree, which I have done, whether it is on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, or the sanctioning of our parliamentarians; I have raised this issue in every single meeting and conversation that I have had with representatives of the Chinese government, and I will continue to do so,” Cleverly, the Foreign British Secretary said.

Cleverly, the Foreign British Secretary,  job in Beijing according to Gaston, will be to “establish new parameters of dialogue, in which engagement itself is not used as a bargaining chip against other key issues.”

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